The names of the future - racing here today

Published 13 December 2014

International motor racing stars will go wheel to wheel with top Kiwi racers around New Zealand this summer.

Over five race weekends at five different circuits and in 15 races, a 20-strong grid of young racing drivers from New Zealand and around the world will compete for some of the most prestigious trophies in New Zealand motor racing, including the ultimate prize, the New Zealand Grand Prix.

For the first time in its 11 year history New Zealand’s Toyota Racing Series will include a current FIA GP2 series competitor. Artem Markelov (20) of Russia was New Zealander Mitch Evans’ team-mate in the 2014 GP2 series. Evans – a former New Zealand Grand Prix winner and two- time TRS champion – is back in this country to assist his team-mate.

Toyota Racing Series Manager Barrie Thomlinson says the Championship has attracted another ‘fantastic’ grid of rising stars and competition for the series and the NZ Grand Prix titles will be intense.

Italy’s Prema team and the Ferrari Development Academy bring to NZ young Italian F4 series champion Lance Stroll as he prepares to step up to the 2015 FIA Formula Three series. Stroll and another Prema driver to be confirmed will be supported by Ferrari engineers during their TRS campaigns.

Returning to TRS and leading the Kiwi driver line up is Damon Leitch of Invercargill. Another Invercargill driver, Jamie Conroy is also among leading New Zealanders – Conroy is the current New Zealand Formula Ford champion. Christchurch’s James Munro won the 2014 Formula Master China series while completing his academic studies at Christchurch Boys High and makes his second foray into TRS this year.

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Creating champions

TRS is New Zealand’s premier single-seater category, a fifteen-race Gold Star Championship for some of the most revered trophies in New Zealand motor racing. In recent years, the Championship has propelled many young Kiwi drivers onto the world stage and into the top echelons of motor racing.

  • Brendon Hartley of Palmerston North now races in the FIA World Endurance Championship as a professional driver with Porsche, teamed with former Red Bull F1 driver Mark Webber
  • Mitch Evans won the FIA GP3 series in 2012 and now races in the FIA GP2 series
  • Richie Stanaway competes as a factory Aston Martin driver in WEC and has competed at the front of the 2014 FIA GP3 series
  • Nick Cassidy won the 2014 NZ Grand Prix title, contested the 2014 FIA European Formula Three championship and finished third in the 2014 Macau GP.  Wanganui’s Earl Bamber is a multiple Porsche champion in Europe and Asia in 2014 on his way to a fully professional career.
  • Australia is home to Shane Van Gisbergen and Daniel Gaunt who compete successfully in V8 Supercars, GT and Porsche GT3series.

TRS has also been used to hone the driving skills of young international racers including TRS race winner, current RED Bull Racing Formula One driver and 2013 FIA GP3 champion Daniil Kvyat; 2014 FIA GP3 champion and 2013 Macau Grand Prix winner Alex Lynn; and Austrian Lucas Auer, who contested the 2014 FIA European Formula 3 Championship and was also second in the 2014 Macau Grand Prix.

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